How to come to Life? An Acting Exercise
Actors are not supposed to look wooden and stiff on stage. But what if you are made of wood??
Pinocchio was made of wood and came to life. Here is a great pantomime that helps you feel each part of your body from head to toes. Think of this game as an “actor’s warm-up” to help you learn exactly how each part of your body feels and moves. (http://www.childdrama.com/warmups.html.)
One person from your group should read this script aloud:
Right now you’re made completely of wood. Your arms and legs are carved from a single piece of wood. You can’t move any part of yourself at all.
Now the magic spell has begun. It begins at the top of your head. The spell moves down slowly until your head down to your eyebrows is flesh and blood. Try and move your eyebrows.
The spell keeps moving down. Now you can move your eyes! All your life you’ve been staring straight ahead, and now you can look to the sides.
The spell gets to your ears and your nose. See if you can wiggle them.
The spell gets to your mouth. You can smile. It feels strange at first, and probably looks pretty strange too, but you grow more comfortable with it. Try some other facial expressions as well.
Slowly you discover that you can turn your head. Careful! You can look up and down carefully as well. Look! You have feet! This is the first time you were ever sure.
The spell reaches your shoulders. But remember, your arms and hands are still attached to your torso, since you are carved from a single piece of wood, so you can move ONLY your shoulders. Try some circles. Do you feel a tingle up and down your spine? That’s the magic working.
The spell reaches your chest. You can puff it out like a soldier.
Your elbows can move now, but still not your hands. As the spell goes lower, see if you can pull your left hand away from your body. Ooofff! You did it.
Bring your hand up to your face and study it. See if you can move the fingers. Wow! You’ve never seen anything so beautiful!
See if you can get your right hand free as well. Does it move too?
The spell has reached your waist. Carefully bend forward, to the side. See if you bend backwards. See if you can make a circle.
The spell reaches your hips, but your knees are still locked together and your feet are still attached to your pedestal.
The spell gets to your knees. See if they bend!
Reach down and see if you can pull your left foot free. Ooofff! Point the toe. Flex the foot. Make little circles.
Now see if you can get your right foot free.
You’re all real now! See how you can move. Careful at first–these are your first steps! Let’s find all the ways our new bodies move!
An actor or dancer uses the body, face and voice to tell stories. This actors’ game may help you “play” your instrument!
Now that you’ve come to life, Pinocchio, let’s teach you how to lie! Oops, did I say that???? It’s crazy, but knowing how to lie comes pretty naturally! Each person has their own style.
Let’s just pretend. Think about an actor learning to lie. Pair off with another person and practice lying to that person, convincing them of something that IS NOT TRUE. This often happens in plays so it is a good skill to have as an actor.
Now have two people in your group do a scene. The rest of the group will sit in the audience and watch. The actors will have to make this lie believable to you, the members of the audience. (For a different twist: have members of the audience each write down a lie and hand it to the actors to perform. Don’t try to embarrass people, but make your actors work!!!)
Take turns and improvise: the crazier your story, the better your show! Become a better
liar ACTOR this summer! Remember to look alive!